1980s los angeles lakers

After appearing on Boardwalk Empire, Waco, and The Little Drummer Girl, Oscar nominee Michael Shannon is heading back to television once again. He’ll play former Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss in a new HBO pilot which chronicles the high-flying “Showtime” era of the team during the 1980s. Adam McKay (Step Brothers, The Big Short) is executive producing the show and directing the pilot. Here’s what we know.

According to Deadline, Shannon has signed on in the “key role” of Jerry Buss, the Lakers owner and “a self-made millionaire whose success has only amplified his proclivity for risk. Buss redefines American sports, celebrity, and wealth by transforming the Lakers into a dynasty but his house of cards threatens to collapse on him — and the people he loves most.”

Max Borenstein (Godzilla) wrote the script, “which chronicles the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties — a team that defined its era, both on and off the court.” Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) has already been cast as Jerry West, the former All-Star Lakers player who eventually became the head coach and served as the team’s general manager during the “Showtime” era.

Characterized by its flashy, high-energy style, the 1980s Lakers played an up-tempo, fast-break-driven game that ran other teams ragged. The team won five NBA championships during the 1980s, occasionally beating the Boston Celtics (their most hated rivals) and capturing the nation’s attention in the process. The team was loaded with superstar players like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy, but also a superstar coach in Pat Riley, whose fancy suits and slicked back hair contributed to the overall “Hollywood” image the team cultivated during those years. You can see a bunch of highlights in this video:

You can also learn more about this period in this 2010 HBO documentary called Magic Johnson and Larry Bird: A Courtship of Rivals, which details their personal rivalry during that time:

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